Bath Rugby have been one of the surprise packages in the English Premiership this season, with new Director of Rugby Stuart Hooper leading them to sixth when the league was suspended. Hooper had replaced previous DoR Todd Blackadder, with the New Zealander leaving at the end of last season, and subsequently joining Japanese side Toshiba Brave Lupus as their new head coach.
In this try analysis, we will look at one of their tries, scored by England centre Jonathan Joseph, in what was a really well-worked score against Sale Sharks.
Firstly, the move begins when Joseph runs into the Sharks’ defensive line, but makes the pass to fly-half Rhys Priestland just before he is tackled. The Wales international is shown here making the run alongside Joseph, but into the gap in the Sale defence, as the blue arrow shows.
Sale are unable to get across and stop Priestland making the run through, because of how late Joseph makes the pass. You can see how the only Sale player in a position to defend has been caught in a 2-v-1 situation. If he moves to cover Priestland’s run, Joseph runs through the gap, and we know his pace and ability to cover metres on a rugby pitch because he has shown it before. However, he commits here to tackle Joseph, meaning Priestland runs through instead.
Here, we see how Priestland has run through with the ball, but has angled it slightly. This takes the last Sale defender across towards him, as the red arrow shows. This then leaves the gap open, and Joseph sees this and makes the run to the outside of the defender, into the space, as the blue arrow shows.
Once Joseph has received the ball, with this space in front of him, the outcome is inevitable, and, sure enough, Joseph goes over the try line to score for Bath. It was a relatively simple try, but there were several things that had to happen for it to come about; firstly Joseph’s delayed pass, secondly Priestland’s run through the middle, and then the angle on the fly-half’s run to take the defender out of the England international’s way.